Sports Physicals Are Crucial in The Game

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From elementary to high school, sporting events are about to kick off, which means it's time for sport physicals. The Arkansas Activities Association requires every student athlete to get a physical exam.

Dr. Steve Goss is with internal medicine and pediatrics at Mercy Hospital in Rogers. He said the 15-minute exam could save a student's life.

Physical screenings include checking the heart, lungs, blood pressure, flexibility and family history, Goss said.

"If there have been family members that have had issues with dizziness, with passing out during exercise, even sudden death at an early age that could be a clue that that student, that patient might be at risk," Goss said.

Some schools provide mass physicals for its players, however, the Rogers School District has moved towards individual screenings, according to Goss.

He said a one-on-one consultation gives doctors a chance to talk to student athletes about other topics.

"Also to provide counseling to the student about hydration, nutrition and safety precautions, all of those sorts of things and even updating immunizations," Goss said.

Shawn Flannigan is the Rogers High School head football coach.

"Sports are taxing, there's a lot going on," Flannigan said. "We want to make sure every kid has been thoroughly and is well taken care of before they begin to participate."

"Everything from past heat related illnesses to heart problems to joint issues," he said.

When a student leaves the hospital to sport their uniform, Flannigan said the physical exam helps them stay healthy in the game.

"It's really critical and important information that we get as coaches in how we can approach individual kids and how we deal with them," Flannigan said.

At Mercy Hospital the physical exam costs $25. Most insurance companies cover the screening. However, Mercy Hospital offers scholarships for those who can't afford it.